Calls for end to legal action over Edinburgh Accies site

The sports club claims it owns the ground beneath the demolished wall. Picture: Greg Macvean
The sports club claims it owns the ground beneath the demolished wall. Picture: Greg Macvean
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TRUSTEES of a city sports club have been urged to call off any further legal action over the £1 million “ransom strip” at the controversial Edinburgh Accies development.

City economy convener Gavin Barrie, whose ward includes the Stockbridge site, said a court ruling against the trustees of the Grange Club over their attempt to force the council to rebuild a wall on the strip or hand over £185,000 should be the end of the matter.

I find it difficult to understand why Grange members would want to be associated with this

Gavin Barrie

The club claims it owns the ground under the now-demolished wall in Comely Bank Road, which allows access to the development site.

Residents campaigning against the £16m development, including a rugby pitch and 2500-seat stand alongside bars, shops and other facilities, are urging the trustees to appeal.

But Cllr Barrie said: “The Accies are a charitable trust trying to do the best they can and I don’t understand why the Grange members are throwing money at this either to get 
money out of the council, which is public money, or get money out of a charitable trust, the Accies.

“I find it difficult to understand why Grange members would want to be associated with this.”

He said he backed the development as “the best thing overall for the wider community”.

And he said: “This process should be over and done with now. I would urge the Grange Club to drop any further legal action.”

Bruce Thompson, of the Save Stockbridge campaign, said he hoped the club would appeal. “From our point of view the Grange Club has got to win. There is still a lot of contention here.”

And Douglas Lowe, former chair of the trustees, said the club should pursue the issue further, particularly to establish its ownership of the strip of land. “I hope very much this won’t be the end of the matter.”

He said a previous legal opinion had been unequivocal on the matter of ownership of the land under the wall.

The Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF), which is behind the Accies development, pointed out that this week’s Court of Session ruling by judge Lord Boyd came after a previous unsuccessful attempt by the Grange Club to obtain an interim interdict against the foundation over enabling works at the site.

A foundation spokesman insisted the strip of land could not be used to prevent access to the site.

And he said: “There may be some sabre-rattling on behalf of the Grange and it is possible that Grange may seek to appeal.

“But following the dismissal of the action by Grange, RPF are now in a position to proceed with the development and have all necessary local authority and other consents in place.”

Gordon Tolland, secretary of the Grange Club, said: “Lord Boyd’s decision is obviously disappointing, particularly for The Grange Club. We are advised that we have 21 days in which to mark an appeal and so we are in discussion with our legal advisors regarding the basis of the opinion. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”